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McCullers may start Sunday for Houston

McHugh also in mix for regular-season home finale
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The Astros have yet to name a starter for Sunday's regular-season home finale against the Angels. Astros manager A.J. Hinch is deciding between Collin McHugh, who pitched five innings Wednesday, and Lance McCullers Jr., who's pitched once since July 30.

McCullers, who was scratched from a Sept. 13 start in Anaheim with arm fatigue, threw a bullpen side session Wednesday. He has been on the disabled list twice this year with back discomfort -- June 9-24 and July 31-Sept. 6, when he was activated and held the Mariners to three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

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HOUSTON -- The Astros have yet to name a starter for Sunday's regular-season home finale against the Angels. Astros manager A.J. Hinch is deciding between Collin McHugh, who pitched five innings Wednesday, and Lance McCullers Jr., who's pitched once since July 30.

McCullers, who was scratched from a Sept. 13 start in Anaheim with arm fatigue, threw a bullpen side session Wednesday. He has been on the disabled list twice this year with back discomfort -- June 9-24 and July 31-Sept. 6, when he was activated and held the Mariners to three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

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"We'll have to decide over the weekend what we're going to do with him," Hinch said before Thursday's series opener. "Obviously, the hope is he's going to be able to make a start soon, but we have a couple of days to decide."

Video: HOU@LAA: McCullers, Hinch on arm and scratched start

Hinch said McCullers came through his bullpen session fine, but the team doesn't want to put him out there if there's a reasonable chance he could get hurt.

"He felt really good and was excited," Hinch said. "He did a similarity to a pregame warmup, where he would go throw, come out, play catch, go to his 'pen, and then ramp it up like he was going to face some hitters. He simulated a couple of hitters, which is a little bit more energy than a bullpen. We'll see how he feels today. When I talked to him inside he felt pretty good. We'll see."

McCullers went 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts in the first half en route to being named to his first All-Star Game. He was 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA in four July starts before going on the DL for the first time at the end of the month.

McCullers' health will factor in prominently when the Astros craft their 25-man roster for the American League Division Series.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Lance McCullers Jr.